Ori cried in the busy street, back hunched against one of the outer walls of the station. His dog Fluffy lay next to him, body touching him with eyes on the bustling crowd. Ori sat with his knees pulled up, head buried in his arms. He’d done his best to provide for himself and Fluffy, but with the moratorium on child-labor in the station and a lack of identified parental units, the teenager had little recourse but to beg. He’d just been accosted by a woman who traded in junk a few kilometers down the road, who yelled at him to leave because he was scaring away customers. The boy ran to his current spot.
Fluffy sat guard on Ori and made sure not a damned soul would come near the boy with ill intent. The dog was some sort of mutt, a mix that the cloning-banks freely gave out, but his loyalty and training belied the notion that he was inferior.
An androgyne approached the two, tossing a card in the kid’s direction at a dangerous glare from the dog. 99 Credits, it said. That would be enough to keep the boy and dog in food and kibble for a fortnight at least. Ori never looked up or noticed. The person who left the donation turned and walked away quickly, leaving Ori to whatever misery bound his thoughts, and Fluffy to his guard duty.